Adding flavoring to beer batch (making extract)

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Todd Terczynski

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I just made a winter ale that was suppose to have a vanilla and anise flavor. Made my own extract with beans and stars in a pint of cognac but came up way light on flavor of vanilla and anise. To get a decent flavor in a 5 gal batch, how many beans would be needed to get a subtle vanilla flavor? Obviously I was way short. Even added pure vanilla extract at about 8 oz to it and still no hint, maybe cognac was overpowering. Any advise to get correct taste for next batch would be greatly appreciated. Even rough estimate of oz. of pure extract would be helpful, I have know how much didn't work.
 

Jag75

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I used 3 beans in a 5 gallon choc milk stout. Gonna bump it up to 5 or 6 next time. It also depends on how long you let the tincture sit. People try and make one withing a few days and dont get the results they want. Try weeks, or even months . My mom makes pure vanilla extract with beans and it sits in her closet for 6 months.
 
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Todd Terczynski

Todd Terczynski

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I had 6 beans and about 15 anise stars sitting for almost 6 months. The beer has a really great bourbon flavor from the cognac but it didn't let the vanilla or anise come through. It has an awesome taste, just not what I was looking for. What does she use for alcohol in her extract?
 

Jag75

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I believe she uses vodka.
Did you scrape your beans really well?
Seems like plenty of time for your tincture. Cognac is a powerful taste though.
 

CodeSection

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I just made a winter ale that was suppose to have a vanilla and anise flavor. Made my own extract with beans and stars in a pint of cognac but came up way light on flavor of vanilla and anise. To get a decent flavor in a 5 gal batch, how many beans would be needed to get a subtle vanilla flavor? Obviously I was way short. Even added pure vanilla extract at about 8 oz to it and still no hint, maybe cognac was overpowering. Any advise to get correct taste for next batch would be greatly appreciated. Even rough estimate of oz. of pure extract would be helpful, I have know how much didn't work.
I would have thought adding 8oz of pure vanilla extract would be way more than enough....a lot more than six beans would provide. When and where did you add the vanilla and cognac? In the fermenter? At bottling or kegging?

As @Jag75 posted, always scrape the contents out of the beans.
 
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Todd Terczynski

Todd Terczynski

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I added at bottling. I added to taste but did not taste anything other than the cognac. The cognac was not overly bearing, so I would have thought the flavors would have come through. The beer does seem very carbonated as well but used the same priming sugar as I normally do
 

CodeSection

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I would wait a few weeks and let the beer condition before changing the recipe to see if the cognac lessons and the vanilla starts coming through....
 
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Todd Terczynski

Todd Terczynski

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I would have thought adding 8oz of pure vanilla extract would be way more than enough....a lot more than six beans would provide. When and where did you add the vanilla and cognac? In the fermenter? At bottling or kegging?

As @Jag75 posted, always scrape the contents out of the beans.
When you say scrape, please explain.
 

CodeSection

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^^^^ What he said. Make a cut lengthwise down the whole bean. Then take a spoon and scrape out the contents. Use the bean and its contents....

In my Christmas Ale recipe, I then dice up the bean and put the scraped contents into a small SS pot along with cinnamon, sweet orange and ginger. I mix it with beer and priming sugar and heat it for 10 minutes. After heating I pour everything into a French Press and let it sit for 20 minutes before adding it to my bottling bucket.
 
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Todd Terczynski

Todd Terczynski

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I had a bottle this evening and you could start to taste the vanilla coming through, if what was said I may have a huge vanilla taste after it settles down and allows the flavors to come through. Thanks for all the information, I'm heading to Mexico in November so I'll be doing some shopping for more beans. I'll just have to make sure they are packaged with the ban on green plant material coming into the states.
 

CodeSection

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^^^^^ man that sounds delicious! I can literally smell that as I read it .:yes:
My clients loved and raved about it. It seems every other week I'm asked if I'm going to brew it again. After about eight weeks of conditioning, the flavors really came out. The longer it ages, the better tasting!

Here is the recipe https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/holly-christmas-ale.145580/

I scaled it to 10 gallons. With that said, I increased the cinnamon sticks and the vanilla beans by 50%...1.5 per five gallons. Based upon the thread where people complained they used too much ginger, I only used 2/3 of freshly grated ginger. Also, I used sweet orange peel powder rather than bitter orange peel. I went with powder because I was concerned about the oils in freshly grated orange peel causing an off flavor. The only changes I plan on making in October is to increase both the cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans to 2.0 per five gallons.

If you are interested in this recipe, I suggest you read the entire thread.
 
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